Letter from the Fiction Editors – Issue 11

Joy is an amoeba. Try to touch it, manipulate it or give it a definition. We all know the sensation, have experienced the spread of its cytoplasm through our own cell structure, but just try to put Joy in your pocket. This is precisely what intrigued us about exploring Joy in this issue of Mason’s Road. It has so many facets, so many elucidations, such endless degrees and durations, that it seems to exist on a continuum. And the writers who contributed to this issue interpreted it on varying points of the spectrum, presenting new, surprising, traditional, hilarious, heartrending pictures of Joy, proving once again the infinite scope of our imaginations and the Joy—yes, the Joy—of reading and writing.

Judging by the submissions we received, there appear to be as many interpretations of Joy as there are people who write about it. Writers, theologians, philosophers, filmmakers, people from every discipline, have their perspectives on Joy. One of the most interesting and germane to this issue of Mason’s Road is Paulo Coelho’s idea that “ Joy is sometimes a blessing, but it is often a conquest.” He believes that “our magic moments help us to change and send us off in search of our dreams.”

So what does this mean? It means that Joy is something we should seek, that it doesn’t just happen, that we need to ferret it out and make it work for our lives. Mother Theresa says simply “Joy is strength.”The writers who submitted fiction pieces to Mason’s Road seemed to concur with Coelho’s and Mother Theresa’s position. Joy came disguised as repudiation when an Israeli girl chose a Palestinian lover over her family and their religion; Joy slipped between the cracks of narcissism in the form of a protagonist’s newborn son; and in our selected story, Can’t Breathe, Laughing, Joy was discovered—and destroyed—in the same fleeting moment. These writers interpreted Joy from innumerable and complex angles. This vast variety of perspectives confirmed our belief that Joy is a prism available to each of us, to view, to translate and to make our own. We hope you catch a glimpse of it in each of this issue’s Joyful selections.


Heather Zullinger and Mary Linder

Fiction Editors

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